Saturday, August 3, 2013

Some of the Best Things about Niue

The Stunning Views

Diving Sites

Matapa Chasm

Commercial Center



Talava Arch


Alofi Wharf

Cultural Activities and the Simplicity of Life 

Photos by: Jopoy Solano
Thank you, Kuya Jops!

Friday, August 3, 2012


Puso ko’y lumuluha
Habang ika’y minamasdan
Aking binabalikbalikan
Di malilimutang nakaraan

Hahanaphanapin ko, Ina
‘Yong mga hele at kanta
Ngayong ikay lilisan na
Hayaan mong alayan ka

Tulog lang, tulog lang
Ng mahimbing, tulog lang
Damhin ang yakap ko Inay
Maging mapanatag ka na
Sa ‘yong pamamahinga

Nais kong pasalamatan ka
Sa bawat sandaling kapiling ka
Bawat ngiti at hapdi
Ikay laging na sa tabi (chorus)

Di ko kayang tiisin
Makita kang nagdurusa
Masakit man sa damdamin
Kailangang tanggapin

Chorus 2:
Tulog lang, tulog lang
Ng mahimbing, tulog lang
Damhin ang yakap ko Inay
Minamahal kita, Inay

Originally composed for the late Nanay Lucy Vaguchay.
May she rest in peace.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Heart to Heart Talk

Dearest Tuningfork,

I had an intimate talk with my sister today...
She was relating to me some pressing concerns in her life, particularly on being in a relationship.
Well it goes without saying that she was actually aiming at getting some of my thoughts about it.

Honestly, although it feels good to know that my sister trusts me on her secrets and
is eager to hear what I had to say about some personal issues she is going through,
I kind of feel awkward talking about things which I haven't gone through myself.
I feel that I am not the best person to talk to in matters of the heart as of yet.

But I'm the only family she has in this utterly isolated island,
hence, I feel it is my duty as well to hear her out.
Bottom line is, I'm not sure whether or not I gave the best advise
but at some point we arrive at an understanding...
  • That all people need to be understood, and that in order for us to understand them, we need to put ourselves in their situation
  • That being in a relationship requires greater patience and understanding of the other
  • That to love means to give the other person a chance to fly and discover more about life and self
  • That societal norms should not dictate our decisions in life -- what matters most is that we love
  • That loving is extending God's love to other people. We don't stop loving when a relationship ends... We continue to love and even extend this love to other people we meet in the future.
So these were the things we have come to realize after that long talk.
Some others may not agree with us, but allow me to explain each one of them in my future blogs.

Let me hear from you, Tuningfork.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Heaven Sent

Dearest Tuningfork,

This is just to introduce you to my new HOD this year.
I know this is a bit late, but I'm gonna write it anyway.
Mind you, she is worth the time.

She prefers to be called Suzy.
Sounds bubbly at first but in fact she really is bubbly after all.
She is the coolest woman I've ever met.
God knows how I prayed hard for someone like her to come.
Well, I'm proud to say, "God did answer my prayer."

The photo above I took from Bill's Facebook page.
Bill, by the way, is Niue's paparazzi. 
If you want to learn about who left and entered Niue,
that's where you will find the necessary info -- Bill's fb page.

Honestly, when I first took a look at this photo, I felt nervous.
She seems to look happy and warm though, but still
her white skin reminded me of how hardworking Caucasians can be
and how overly demanding they can be at times. 
Well, let's just say, I was looking at a cover page
 and I have yet to discover how truly caring and sensitive Suzy is.

To give you an idea of what I'm talking about,
I took this photo on my 28th birthday.
She stayed late the day before just to prepare this banner.
Isn't this so thoughtful of her to do?
For a minute there, I thought I was taking a photo of my mom.
Deep inside I was crying...

I wish I had a photo of her at work, 
then I could have shown you how quick and sharp she is.
Mind you, she is so inquisitive. She has all the questions in the world.
I don't know with others, but I liked it when she asked because
then it was easy for me to know what she needed to know.
And that probably explains why she easily got her way around NCEA.
Hehehe...reminds me of my time with Vilisi. It's not easy you know.
It takes real intelligence to work your way through this totally different system.

I must tell you how grounded Suzy is.
She is so professional in her ways.
She never puts her weight around people,
and there was never a time I felt being told...
We've always talked about what's best for the department.

At the moment, Suzy is sharing to me her expertise
on literacy -- the essentials of it.
I am learning so much from her, I tell you.
I'm glad I stayed for another year at NHS.

Anyway, the photo above was taken recently at the Alofi South Show Day.
She is with friends -- one of them is Hilda, the sweet lady from Papua New Guinea.
Hilda, who came to Niue this year with Suzy, is now HOD for Science.
She is another addition to friends whom I consider "the many faces of God in this world."

We are now half-way through the year, and to me that means a lot.
You see, I'm sensing a familiar feeling from last year.
That feeling when my previous HOD decided to leave for a better cause.
I have no idea what Suzy's plans are but for sure,
I'm gonna have to respect those and be happy for her.

Well, I guess I've written a lot.
Thanks for being here, Tuningfork.

Ad Majorem dei Gloriam,


My Hero

It's good to be back, Tuningfork!

I don't remember telling you about one of my heroes in life, did I?
Well, she happens to be my dearest aunt who I consider my second mom.
My Aunt Lucy, more popularly known at home as "Nanay," is fighting for her life right now.
She has cervical cancer and according to her doctors, her days are numbered.

This whole truth is just so hard to accept...
But I know there's a God who gives the final say, and I shall respect whatever His decision will be.

Nay Lucy has always been there for me ever since.
She always had faith in me and had supported me every step of the way.
When I was little, my mom told me how I've always wanted to study in an expensive school at home.
Knowing our situation at that time, my mom only smiled at me.
However, my Nay Lucy must have felt or even foreseen something in me after that because according to mom, she just kept on pushing the idea of sending me to Xavier University and even volunteered to sponsor my yearly tuition -- so generous of her, I reckon.

So for five long years, my Nay Lucy supported me financially to school.
She must love me too much for she also brought heaps of presents for me --
things I needed for school, new shoes, bags, and the like.
Every year, no fail, she supported me no matter what.
But towards the end of the fifth year, she began to suffer lung complications --
she had to stop supporting me financially.

Allow me to tell you how my Nay gets to support me financially.
Well, she worked for Del Monte, a company that engages in processing,
manufacturing, and packing pineapple and tomato products.
At work, she would be looking closely at each pineapple, peeling off areas left out by the machine.
Imagine doing this for at least eight hours a day... I wouldn't probably survive.
And by the way, they had two "shifts" at work -- night and day.
Hence, there were weeks when you can't disturb her at day time because she had to sleep.
All these for a couple of pesos just enough to spend for food and pay power and water bills.
At some point I had to question how on earth did she save for my tuition fees.
Then I learned that she depended on an educational loan where the company would deduct
some amount from her salary, paying the loan on installment basis.
One thing was clear to me -- she had to do overtime work in order to get extra.

Despite hardship, I never heard any complaints from her.
Our happiness was and has always been her happiness.
She could have chosen to save and live a more comfortable life, but she chose to sacrifice
not just for me but also for her other nieces and nephews depending on her.

Looking back, I realized that I will never become the person I am today without my Nay.
She was and continues to be God's gift to me.
I am forever in her debt...
She is my hero.

Help me pray for her, Tuningfork.
May God ease her pains and give her the comfort she deserves.